S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Ekam: A festival of solo Bharatanatyam performances

By Samudri

Photographs by Ramanathan N Iyer

Ekam was an earnest attempt by the Chennai-based organisation The Artery  to present four Bharatanatyam solo performances at SPACES, Besant Nagar in a natural setting with minimal lighting and natural lamps on 26 and 27 August this year. 

Mythili Prakash

The festival opened with Jwala presented by the US-based Mythili Prakash "exploring the enigmatic quality of the flame: that which burns is that which simultaneously illuminates". Mythili conceived this project after two major events in her life—the death of her father Prakash and the birth of her daughter Rumi. Jwala is therefore an attempt to find a connection between "saying good-bye and looking ahead, between release and hope, between shedding and seeking."
Sheejith Krishna

The next programme on the anvil was Sheejith Krishna's Saadrshyam.  It explored "thematic interconnections in the works of true bhaktas who represent the glory of Indian music and poetry, from Tyagaraja to Surdas, from Jayadeva to Subramania Bharati." It highlighted the grandeur and ingenuity of Carnatic music compositions by such innovators as the Tanjavur Quartet, who represent both steadfast adherence to lineage and original thinking. 

Divya Devaguptapu

Divya Devaguptapu, another US-based artist, presented Prerna, an exploration of aspects that have inspired and influenced her creative pursuit. "From translating the stillness of temple architecture into movement, to visualising the soulful musicality of M.D. Ramanathan, from adapting Telugu literature to Bharatanatyam to celebrating the mathematics of rhythm, Prerna is a creative journey.

Vaibhav Arekar

Vaibhav Arekar's  Trayyantabased on the philosophical truths of some major Upanishads, was "a quest to perceive and project these truths through the idiom of classical dance". It was an attempt to convey to the audience "the pursuit of the human race to find the deeper meaning of life". At the microcosmic level the choreographer tried "to re-investigate the power of abstractions and imageries in Bharatanatyam".

Most of the  presentations at Ekam were sincere attempts to translate complex abstractions into recognisable, comprehensible aesthetic experiences. The artists (and the audience) had to battle sapping weather conditions in an enclosed space, a challenge even if the whole atmosphere was suffused with beauty and elegance. A genuine endeavour by The Artery, which can only get better with experience.

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